How Instagram’s New Desktop DM Feature Will Affect Influencer Marketing

Kelsey Formost

04 Feb 2020 · 2 min read


Instagram and its parent company Facebook have been making a huge focus-shift over to messaging, and with good reason. While user growth for the platform has continued to rise, the company has been searching for new opportunities for revenue growth.

The success rate of direct-message marketing via Facebook’s messenger app has proven to be extremely valuable for brands and businesses. So, it makes perfect sense that Instagram has now granted a small percentage of users access to the platform’s newest update: Direct Messaging via desktop.

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It’s a great move. Influencers who aren’t represented by agencies, especially those in the nano and micro categories, have long used DM’s, or direct messages, via Instagram’s mobile app to pitch brand partnerships. Now that the feature is going to be available on Desktop, it follows that the field of influencer marketing will be greatly impacted.

The ability for influencers to message brands at scale from a computer keyboard rather than a phone (and vice versa) will allow for greater volume and accuracy of communication. Similarly, brands and businesses will now be better able to handle direct communications like customer service inquiries and influencer relationships.

We’re predicting that paid Direct Message marketing for Instagram isn’t far behind.

Facebook has long had a paid option for its Messenger platform via Facebook Tools. With 1.3 Billion monthly users, and 8 billion messages being sent per day, it’s a natural progression for Facebook to take advantage of Instagram DM feature and open it up as a new revenue stream.

Instagram’s Desktop DM’s will create a more affordable direct-to-consumer marketing option that we anticipate many brands, as well as lower and mid-tier influencers, will jump to take advantage of. For creators and brands hoping to increase engagement and land better partnerships on Instagram, that more cost-effective option has been missing. As an example, choosing a click-to-Messenger Facebook ad versus an in-feed Facebook ad can reduce advertising costs by 30x-50x.

So, what’s the psychology of why DM marketing is successful?

After over a decade of being mass-marketed to on social media, people are craving authentic connection. Influencers on Instagram and other social platforms are increasingly adopting a “one-to-few”, or even a “one-to-one” (as opposed to a “one-to-many”) approach.

This is perhaps one of the reasons that engagement rates are so much higher on chat than via email marketing. A marketing email has, on average, a 10% open rate and a 1-3% clickthrough rate. Messenger, by contrast, averages 70-80% open rates and 20% clickthrough rates.

This mindset is also why marketers should be dialing in on their ideal audience’s affinities and content preferences.

It’s not just about coming up with a creative message, putting it in front of a large audience and hoping people will share it. Now, successful marketing is about partnering with people who have highly-engaged audiences rather than just large ones. The ability to talk with people one-on-one via messaging is like a shortcut to creating a sense of personal connection, conversion, and eventually brand loyalty.

Facebook is currently the only one of the “Big 4” social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) to also be in the “Big 4” messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber, WeChat). According to the research below, done by Business Insider Intelligence, messaging apps have surpassed social media platforms in terms of number of active users.

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It will be interesting to see if Instagram displaces any of the other of the “Big 4” messaging apps after it’s fully launched to all of it’s whopping 26.9 Billion users.

We’re betting the answer is ‘yes’.

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